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Yes, as long as you take precautions to minimize your exposure to fertilizer (whether chemical or natural).
One way to do this is to let someone else apply it. If that's not possible, try to keep fertilizer from touching your skin and take steps to avoid accidentally swallowing or inhaling it. Here are some tips for limiting your exposure:
- Wear gloves.
- Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs.
- Wear eye protection.
- Wear a dust mask (or anything that can cover the mouth and nose, such as a handkerchief).
- Wash your hands well after handling fertilizer and before you touch your face, eat, drink, or prepare food.
- If your clothes get dusty or dirty from fertilizer, change them before you handle food, and wash them before you wear them again.
- After applying fertilizer, stay out of the garden until the fertilizer has dried.
Chemical fertilizers are typically a combination of three chemicals: nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. All three exist in our bodies and are needed in the right amounts for our bodies to work properly. But accidentally ingesting high doses from chemical fertilizer – either by swallowing it or by absorbing it through your skin – can be harmful.
For example, potassium is important for a regular heartbeat, but too much of it can cause heart problems. Fortunately, exposure to chemical fertilizers has not been linked to birth defects or pregnancy complications.
Compost and other natural fertilizers, which may contain animal manure or bone meal, should also be handled with care. Although composting requires high temperatures to break down materials and kill disease-causing agents, bacteria sometimes make it through the composting process. So it's advisable to take the same precautions with natural fertilizers that you take with the chemical ones.
Keep in mind that pesticides you might apply to plants growing in your garden are not the same as fertilizers. Because risks are associated with exposure to pesticides during pregnancy, it' a good idea to minimize your exposure to them as well.